October 30, 2015

The digital identity and its future

EGOupdate - at NRW-Forum Düsseldorf

There is something very exciting going on...

In the preface of the Ego Update catalogue from NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Alain Bieber, the director of the cultural centre that NRW-Forum Düsseldorf is writes:
"Hardly anything has altered and influenced photograhpy and our notion of identity as much as the digital revolution."

In the new (opened in September 2015) and very fascinating exhibition EGO Update NRW-Forum Düsseldorf is focusing on the EGO, the new identity in the digital era; 

It's a mesmerising exhibition curated by Alain Bieber, and it features a collection of artists all focusing on the Ego in different ways, from the German Jonas Unger with his celebrity selfies, Martin Parr, the British satirical photographer who has his portraits taken in cities he travels to for other work, Robbie Cooper who is fascinated with the alter-egos in the gaming world,  to LaTurbo Avedon, herself an avatar who makes digital self portraits - an artist that wouldn't even exist, had it not been for internet and digital media - David Slater with the monkey selfies that have been quite controversial, not the least because of the discussion around copyright - does it belong to the photographer or to the monkeys who took the photos with the camera the photographer had provided? 

Amalia Ulman, Argentinian born artist in a performance that stretched over several months faked getting a new life, a new face, a new identity is represented here, so is the Swedish born Arvida Byström, who in her often pink and on the surface very cute photos addresses difficult topics as gender roles, feminism, the search for identity, and so is Alison Jackson who takes us behind the scenes with the celebrities - or does she? 

And these are just a few of the names represented at the Forum. 

Absolutely fascinating!

Alain Bieber has really put together a diverse collection of photographers and photos that at least made me reflect on what's going on around us and who I am and what I do. 

Why EgoUpdate in Düsseldorf? 

The Digital revolution has without any doubt changed the way we see ourselves, and TIME decided to dig deeper and investigated and mapped out the number of selfies in the world, based on location - and Düsseldorf, to the surprise of some, came up as number one in Germany. It turns out that we Düsseldorfers take, or at least post the most selfies in the country. Düsseldorf is, they say, the Selfie Capital of Germany.

Alain Bieber, who recently started his new position as director of NRW-Forum curated this amazing exhibition, which is, I dare say, unique. 

This is fascinating exhibition you should see and interact with. We are invited to take part! It's not just allowed but you are even encouraged to photograph and become an extended part of the exhibition yourself; Posting on Instagram with the tag #EGOUpdate will make your picture part of the stream of photos displayed on the screen in the entrance of the museum - as long as they are public photos, that is - and you can buy a newly printed postcard to send to your family, with you on the cover, before you leave. You can use the photo booth in the museum to get a selfie with one of the backgrounds Martin Parr has been photographed with, you can climb the ramp and look at the collection of feet put together by the Dutch artist Erik Kessel.

The team at NRW-Forum Düsseldorf has really put their hearts and souls into this exhibition and have done an exceptional job getting it all together - the director, Alain Bieber, even came to the opening day with a sweater that underlined what the exhibition is all about - the new identity in the digital era - a sweater with his own photo printed again, and again, and again. 

Learn more the exhbition

As so many other exhibitions, I can really recommend taking the tour; There is a tour in German every Friday at 8pm (20:00), and every last Friday of the month, there is an English tour, at the same time (8 pm, 20:00). I am of course really happy if you make it to the English tour, which I am hosting - or come to both, I can guarantee that you'll have different experiences and learn new things, there are simply so many artists to cover and so much interesting to say that we can't cover everything in one tour - and we have of course different views and different backgrounds, which makes us focus on different things.

The great thing is the Friday evening tours are at no extra cost - all you do is pay the entrance fee. However if the Friday doesn't suit you, you can always get a group together and book a private tour at a time that suits you, or attend a workshop, via the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf Website.

Hope to see you there!

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